The number of patients admitted to hospital with coronavirus has dropped to the lowest level since September, the health secretary has said.
Matt Hancock tweeted to say that the figure stands at under 2,000, while also celebrating the figures of the ongoing vaccine rollout.
Over 43 million people have been vaccinated so far – 33,139,742 have had a first dose and 10,775,817 a second dose.
Hancock wrote: “A huge thank you to everyone playing their part in protecting our country from this virus…
“We're making great strides.”
The figures are in stark contrast to the start of the year, when there were 37,475 people in hospital with coronavirus on 18 January.
It comes after a study found that just 32 of the UK’s 74,405 coronavirus patients admitted to hospital between last September and this March had been vaccinated before they were admitted.
The study, by UK Coronavirus Clinical Characterisation and leaked to The Telegraph, found that all 32 had been given at least one dose of the jab before falling ill after the three weeks needed to build immunity.
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Scientists told the newspaper that their findings show the vaccines are working "extremely well".
The results of the vaccine programme come as the government was urged to reveal more information about the effectiveness of jabs such as AstraZeneca's to allay "unjustified" concerns about their safety.
Former prime minister Tony Blair is leading calls for UK authorities to make more real-world data available amid fears some countries are pausing the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID vaccine unnecessarily.
Blair warned that global vaccination efforts risked being undermined if “workhorse” vaccines such as the AstraZeneca product, which can be used around the world, are “discredited based on unjustified anxieties about safety or efficacy”.
He suggested the release of the UK’s total vaccination data set, including details of those who have received a jab and subsequently contracted COVID, been admitted to hospital or died.
Only this would carry the “global credibility AstraZeneca needs”, Blair said.
His comments come following reports of a rare type of blood clot connected to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
However, the UK medicines regulator – the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) – has said the benefits of the jab continue to far outweigh any risks.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, Blair said he doesn’t see any point in “holding back the information”.
He added: “I would like us to be setting out the numbers of people who have had the vaccine – first dose and second dose, Pfizer and AstraZeneca – then the numbers of those who have still contracted COVID, the numbers of those hospitalised and the numbers of those who have died.
“I think if you do that it will show AstraZeneca is a highly effective vaccine and that those doubts that are there around the world are unjustified and wrong.”
Figures released on Wednesday showed there were a further 22 deaths within 28 days of testing positive for COVID, bringing the UK total to 127,327.
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